March 5, 2004
By STEVE HERMAN
AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Michigan State showed why its defense is the best in the Big Ten.
The No. 25 Spartans, led by Lindsay Bowen’s season-high 27 points, dominated the boards, controlled the tempo and shut down the league’s most potent offense in an 81-54 victory over Iowa in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament Friday.
Michigan State (21-7) will play No. 5 Penn State, the tourney’s top seed, in the semifinals Sunday.
“It was a very, very physical game,” Michigan State coach Joanne McCallie said. “I liked our attack, 42 rebounds, 17 offensive. That was very important to our game plan, and our team did a very good job of defensive pressure.”
Michigan State trailed Iowa (16-12) much of the first half and led by eight points at halftime, before Bowen and the Spartans’ relentless defense broke the game open. Bowen shot 8-for-10 after the break, including four 3-pointers that helped push the lead to 70-41 with seven minutes to go.
“I let the offense come to me,” she said. “I didn’t force shots. We needed to control our possessions more on offense, and on defense just make stops. Once you get defensive stops, the offense will come.”
Iowa, which led the conference in scoring at 74 points per game, got no closer than 22 points the rest of the way.
“We just really had the momentum going for us. we wanted to create our own energy and feed off each other, and I think we did that,” said Bowen, who scored the final five points on another 3-pointer and a basket with under a minute remaining.
Michigan State entered the game allowing just 55.1 points per game – tops in the conference and 11th in the nation – but fell behind when the Hawkeyes hit their first four shots and five of the first six – three from 3-point range.
That’s when Michigan State’s defense kicked in.
“We definitely like to pressure the ball,” McCallie said of the turnaround. “Ball pressure and quickness can do that. We attacked more, and we need to do that.”
Iowa made just one of its next 10 shots and managed just one free throw, by Jamie Cavey, during a six-minute, 11-1 Michigan State run.
The Spartans, unbeaten in 17 games when holding opponents under 59 points, took their first lead at 20-19 on a basket by Kelli Roehrig, and added two baskets by Bowen and two free throws by Victoria Lucas-Perry before Cavey scored again.
The Spartans led 36-28 at the half and extended the lead to 42-28 on two quick baskets each by Liz Shimek and Rene Haynes in the first 2? minutes of the final period. Iowa continued its poor shooting, hitting one of its first 12 shots of the second half.
A 3-pointer by Bowen pushed Michigan State’s lead to 60-39 midway through the period and Iowa, which shot 4-for-25 from the field in the second half, never recovered.
“They played a lot harder than we did. That’s my fault,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “I didn’t have my team prepared, and their defense was excellent.”
Roehrig added 16 points for the Spartans. Tiffany Reedy led Iowa with 13 points and Cavey added 11 before fouling out with eight minutes to go.
“They played the matchup zone and had a lot of double-teams, and they were very effective,” Reedy said. “They got on a roll and kept going, and we couldn’t answer.”